CHARLES M RATHBURN
One of the best known and most popular railroad men in Kansas is the gentleman whose name heads this sketch and who is the superintendent of all the Missouri Pacific lines north of Kansas City, and formerly the general superintendent of the Kansas City, Wyandotte & Northern, with headquarters in Atchison.
Charles M. Rathburn was born August 24, 1846, in Lower Horton, Nova Scotia, where his mother, who was a Boston woman, was visiting her husband's relatives. His parents were William and Margaret Fuller Rathburn, the former of whom was born in Nova Scotia, of English descent. He was brought up on a farm, working in summer and attending school in the winter until he was fourteen years old, when he went to Woburn, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston, and began work in his stepfather's carriage factory as a blacksmith's helper. He remained there until the commencement of the Civil war, when, although only a mere lad of sixteen, he enlisted in the Twelfth Massachusetts Infantry, of which regiment a son of Daniel Webster was the colonel. The regiment was assigned to the Army of the Potomac and he served for nearly three years as a private, at the end of that time becoming a hospital steward of the regular army, a position for which he had fitted himself by special study. He did service in this capacity in Virginia, in Chicago and in Columbus, Ohio.
When his duties as a soldier were ended he went into the employ of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company, at Aurora, Illinois, acting at various times as timekeeper in the shops, clerk in the store and car departments, car repairer and car builder and chief clerk of the track department. From 1874 to 1878 he was the auditor of the National Life Insurance Company, with headquarters at Chicago. In 1878 he removed to Topeka and was the chief clerk of the transportation department of the Santa Fe for three years. He was then appointed assistant superintendent and later superintendent, with headquarters at La Junta, Colorado. He came to Atchison in 1888 from Santa Fe and has since occupied his present position. He is also the president of the Atchison Union Depot & Railroad Company. He has about nine hundred miles of road to look after and performs his onerous duties with accuracy and dispatch. To fill acceptably such a responsible office as that which Mr. Rathburn holds requires keen perception, ripe judgment, a cool head, strong will and untiring energy. It is to the possession of these qualities that his steady advancement is due, while his genial manner and considerate treatment of others has made him a host of warm friends.